Launched in 2016, TheSoul Publishing has been at the forefront of the short-form video industry since 2019. The company's openness to new formats and adaptable approach to content creation propelled it to the top of the digital entertainment industry, with over 1.5 billion social media followers enjoying the company's entertaining, upbeat, and original content across 21 languages.
TheSoul’s global creative team have created a universe of the internet's most well-known brands, including 5-Minute Crafts®, Bright Side, 123 GO!, Avocado Couple, La La Life, Teen-Z, Baby Zoo, Slick Slime Sam, and Polar. These brands were initially distributed via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and more, and generate over 20 billion monthly views, surpassing established media companies like Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, according to Tubular.
TheSoul saw a great opportunity with the rise of vertical short-form video and TikTok’s growth in 2019, with the platform having over one billion monthly users who spend over an hour per day in the app. The social media industry's top digital studio quickly adapted to the platform's short-form content formats to maintain its spectacular rise. As TikTok’s content increasingly attracted engaged Gen Z audiences, TheSoul also had to ensure it produced captivating, tailored, and irresistibly shareable content for all ages.
Overall, TheSoul Publishing’s goal was to expand the studio’s TikTok audience and achieve this by:
Adapting existing brands’ content into engaging TikTok formats.
Launching new “made for TikTok” channels and IPs tailored to specific communities, younger audiences, and trends on the fast-moving platform
Due to rising social media platform usage and increased digital content consumption, consumers are more frequently turning to snackable, short-form videos on platforms like TikTok for their entertainment needs.
In addition, the platform's explosive growth and its audience's appetite for watching short-form videos led TheSoul to examine its vast content library to identify particular themes, topics, and pieces of content with the most significant impact. Using those insights as a foundation, the company improved its decentralized production strategy and optimized the adaptation of its wildly popular universe of online brands into TikTok's short-form format.
To accomplish this, TheSoul relied on its groundbreaking company-wide "no meetings" and "no internal email" policies, significantly increasing its efficiency and speed in testing and learning new formats. Such policies:
An efficient onboarding process to help new team members rapidly add value
Made sure team members focused on what they do best rather than losing time on pointless, ineffective, and non-transparent discussions.
Streamlined content adaptation processes to expose TikTok audiences to trending content from other platforms.
In addition, TheSoul continued analyzing TheSoul's content library with insights gained from its adaptation of existing brands to the platform. The additional layer of insights TheSoul received from TikTok analytics was incredibly insightful. They helped ensure the studio produced new, highly customized “made-for-TikTok” IPs and channels for both larger emerging trends in audience content consumption and quickly emerging viral short-form video trends.
Because of TheSoul Publishing's sustained early growth on TikTok, the platform took notice and invited the studio to join its Instructive Accelerator Program (IAP) in 2021, consisting of 25 publishers chosen to make instructive and informative videos, and its Creative Learning Fund (CLF) program. TheSoul Publishing wanted to create new channels for these programs.
However, establishing new IPs and channels on TikTok can be challenging, as launching a successful page that resonates with the highly engaged TikTok audience requires extensive trial and error. For TheSoul, this approach meant leaving quite a bit of content on the cutting room floor in order to test and learn. Still, ultimately, it’s the entrepreneurial spirit that makes TikTok what it is today, and TheSoul’s tactics on the platform use that mindset to guide its processes.
Thanks to TheSoul Publishing’s extensive testing and content analysis, the studio found success on the platform by leaning into trends that cater to niche sub-groups. For example, the studio produced gardening-related content that appealed directly to the “Plant Tok” TikTok micro-community.
As a result, TheSoul launched three new pages:
5-Minute Green, which covers plant care, natural remedies, and green living,
La La School, which helps viewers learn trendy tips and tricks,
and 5-Minute Science, which offers content showing experiments that can be accomplished at home using simple household items.
TheSoul rapidly expanded its TikTok audience in 2022, resulting in a 67% increase compared to the year prior. By September 2022, TheSoul's universe of popular channels had almost 90 million followers across more than 60 TikTok pages, up from 27 million at the end of 2020.
TheSoul has mastered following, adapting, and amplifying major social media trends by experimenting and iterating quickly. For instance, TheSoul focused on established character-led brands to appeal to TikTok's younger and highly engaged audience. This includes Polar's TikTok channel, which has over 1.7 million followers and adds 10,000 daily.
Another established brand, 5-Minute Crafts®, was highlighted by TikTok for empowering "viewers to solve everyday problems with simple, creative solutions" and features TheSoul's most viewed video on TikTok, a bed sheet hack (100M views).
With the launch of new “made-for-TikTok” channels and IPs, TheSoul saw the appeal of global niches like gardening hacks on TikTok, resulting in:
5-Minute Recycle gaining 9.1 million followers
5-Minute Recipes gaining 5 million followers
5-Minute Green gaining 2.1 million followers
Overall, TheSoul significantly grew its TikTok audience by streamlining its production processes to quickly turn existing brands' content into engaging TikTok formats and by launching new "made for TikTok" channels and IPs made for specific communities, short-form audiences, and trends.